Toothpick-plant (khella). Khella fruits

Toothpick-plant (khella). Khella fruits

Toothpick-plant (khella). Khella fruits

Specification & Spread

Toothpick-plant (khella). Khella fruits — fructus visnagae daucoidis (fructus ammi visnagae)
A mixture of fruits with the chaff — mixtio fructuum cum palea
Toothpick-plant (khella) – Visnaga daucoides Gaertn. ( = Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam.)
Carrot family – Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Other names: khella.

It is a biennial (annual crop) herbaceous plant with erect, at the top of a strongly branched stem up to 120 cm high.
The leaves are alternate, vaginal, twice-thrice pinnately dissected into thin linear-filiform splayed segments.
The inflorescence is a complex umbrella with a diameter of 6-10 cm; the rays of the umbrella are numerous (up to 100), bare, splayed during flowering, with fruits – squeezed together, hardening, forming a «nest». The leaflets of the cover are pinnate on bristle-shaped segments.
The flowers are white, small, inconspicuous, with an intoxicating unpleasant smell.
The fruit is ovoid or oblong-ovoid cremocarp 2-2.5 mm long. The fruits as ripening are quickly falling. The growing season lasts 150-170 days. The plant is drought-resistant, little demanding on soil conditions.

It blossoms in June – August, fruits in August – September.

Spreading. Origin – Mediterranean countries. It grows wild in Asia Minor, North Africa, Southern Europe. How wild it is found in the Caucasus, mainly in Azerbaijan. It is cultivated in the Krasnodar Territory, Moldova and the southern regions of Ukraine.

Habitat. It grows in the steppes, on the slopes of the mountains and like a weed in crops.


The chemical composition of khella

The fruits contain:

  • furanochromone derivatives – khella (up to 2.5%), visnagin, kellinine,
  • pyranocoumarin derivatives – dihydrosamidine, visnadin;
  • flavonoids – acacetin;
  • essential oil (up to 0.2%);
  • up to 20% of fatty oil.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The raw materials are fruits and a mixture of fruit with the chaff. The ripening of the fruits of ammi occurs non-simultaneously, so the harvest is harvested in two ways – by separate and direct combining. When harvesting separately, the raw material consists of 65-70% of mature and 30-35% of green fruits. Cleaning by direct combining is applied in late autumn during the period of mass ripening and browning of fruits.

Drying. It is dried on air or in dryers at a temperature of not more than 60 ºС.

It is a mixture of mature and unripe fruits. The fruits – oblong-ovate cremocarps, up to 2 mm long, about 1 mm thick, in the raw materials mostly disintegrating into two semi-fetuses (mericarpia) with 5 weakly protruding ribs . The colour is graeish-brown, the ribs are lighter, the unripe fruits are greenish.

The smell is weak and characteristic. The taste is bitter-spicy and slightly hot. The chaff consists of parts of flowers, peduncles, rays of an umbrella and umbrellas, crushed leaves and stems.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Antispasmodic and vasodilating agent.
Pharmacological properties of khella

The sum of the active ingredients of the plant has antispasmodic properties in organs with smooth muscles, affecting primarily:

  • muscles of the ureters,
  • intestines
  • bronchi,
  • coronary vessels.

The main active ingredient of carnivorous visnagi is furanochromone kellin.

Kellin has antispasmodic properties: 

  • lowers the tone of the walls of blood vessels, intestines, urinary and gall bladder,
  • dilates bronchi and coronary vessels of the heart.

It has a weak sedative effect. Rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. The highest concentration in the blood kellin reaches 10-15 minutes after administration.

Isolated furocoumarin visnadine exhibits antispasmodic activity against:

  • coronary arteries of the heart,
  • bronchi,
  • urinary and
  • biliary tract.

Visnadin also has photosensitizing properties.

Application of khella:

  • possesses antispasmodic activity mainly on the muscles of the urinary tract, taken orally with urolithiasis, renal colic, spasm of the ureters.

An individual substance, kellin, is obtained from a mixture of fruits and genitalia.

In spastic conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, kellin has an antispasmodic myotropic effect similar to papaverine. In case of bronchial asthma, it softens asphyxiation, but does not have a stopping effect on already developed asthmatic attacks.


  • antispastic,
  • laxative and
  • anti-inflammatory effect.

It is assigned with gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, with hyperacid gastritis.

It is used as an antispasmodic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory agent for:

  • renal colic,
  • nephrourolithiasis.
  • Hypersensitivity,
  • pregnancy,
  • lactation,
  • child age.

Khella is contraindicated in severe circulatory failure.